The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes the third and final stop on the historic Western Swing this weekend at Pacific Raceways in Seattle for the 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries.
In Sonoma, the battles for the final spots in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship heated up. With only three races remaining in the regular season, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series has plenty of drama, and the story continues in the beautiful Northwest.
Catch all the action from this weekend’s event on ESPN2/ESPN2HD beginning with qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 4, at 10:30 p.m. ET. Sunday’s race-day coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2/ESPN2HD.
Here’s what viewers can expect when they tune in this weekend:
Only three races remain before the start of the Countdown, and the pressure is on several drivers, including in Funny Car, defending world champion Matt Hagan (12th), Tim Wilkerson (11th), John Force (10th), and Bob Tasca III (ninth). In Top Fuel, a first-round loss by Bob Vandergriff Jr. has him in a precarious position, the 10th and final spot. Clay Millican, who sits 11th, gained in Sonoma and is only four points out of 10th. In Pro Stock, only 10 points separate the four drivers ranked ninth through 11th. Who will head into the last two races of the regular season in a position to lock in the final spot in the playoffs?
Top Fuel driver Antron Brown has won the first two races on the Swing and is trying to become the first driver in NHRA history to sweep the Swing twice, having accomplished the feat in 2009. Allen Johnson in Pro Stock has his eyes set on becoming the second driver in the category to sweep the Swing; only Greg Anderson has done it. This marks the first time in 10 years that two drivers have a chance to sweep the Western Swing going into the final race.
Wilkerson has won the last three races in Seattle in Funny Car, and another victory there would significantly boost his chances to get into the playoffs. This week’s Prestone Ask the Expert question is for Wilkerson. Email your question to NHRA’s Facebook page, and it may be picked to air during Sunday’s telecast on ESPN2.